Kathmandu is a huge city that's a true mix of the ancient world and a developing hectic way of life. There's plenty to do in Kathmandu to keep many people busy for days.
For newcomers to Kathmandu it can be a little overwhelming. The crowds, traffic, dust, heat or cold can make it seem stressful. Take advantage of the copious cafes, restaurants and empty stores to take a break from it all.
Walking the main areas of Kathmandu is possible and sometimes faster than a taxi or rickshaw in the central areas. Taxi's are cheap but you do need some bargaining. Use them for day trips and sights just out of the center.
Check out the full guide to Kathmandu city for more practical information, or read about some of the best things to do in Kathmandu below.
Thamel is the tourist hub of Kathmandu. In between buying souvenirs, browsing second hand book stores you can relax over a coffee. Enjoy freshly baked pastries or eat in one of the plentiful restaurants.
For culture enthusiasts there's a never ending supply of side streets leading to stupas, temples and places of interest.
For people seeking adventure there's a slew of new activies in Kathmandu from taking Everest flights, indoor wall climbing and archery.
It can get hot, dusty and very crowded so be prepared for people, motorbikes, rickshaws and the occasional meandering cow.
Check out the Thamel guide for more...
Learning to cook Nepali style can be a fun activitiy. It's not all about Dal Bhat or momos either (though they are good). You can learn about blending spices, making curries and discovering new ingrediants.
One of the most popular ways of booking a professional cooking fourse is online. Here's a list of cooking courses in Kathmandu. Do be careful of local cooking courses which are no more than a few pots and pans.
One recommended local cooking course is at Newa Momo (opposite Rosemary Restraunt in Thamel).
Another is Nepal Cooking School (01-4700419) located on Satgumti (7 corner street) in Thamel.
Nepal has the best "undiscovered coffee" in the world. Grown at over 4,000m Nepal's coffee beans are nutty and smooth with very little bitterness.
Discover the best places to have a cup of coffee in Nepal.
While Kathmandu Durbar Square gets most of the temple attention the rest of city if filled with ancient temples. Aside from the big favorites like Swayambhunath and Boudhanath do make sure to check out Kathmandu's heritage walks.
Of particular note is Kathmandu's old city. Leading through historic squares like Ason Chowk, Indra Chowk to Janal Bahal. Saturdays are best utilized for these walks due to traffic. But do try to locate Itum Bahal's heritage street to catch a glimpse of Kathmandu few others do.
Find out everything you can do with heritage walks with my dedicated guidebook to Kathmandu Valley.
Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of the premier attractions in Kathmandu. The large square is filled with ancient temples, Newari architecture, shrines, the old royal palace and Kumari residence. Though the sourthern section was damaged in the 2015 earthquake much of it is being reconstucted and the northern section remains.
Find out everything you can do here with this free guide to Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Kathesimbhu Stupa is a much smaller replica of the infamous Monkey Temple. It's located in a small courtyard on the way to Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Read more on this guide to Kathesimbhu stupa.
If you'd to take a chance at spotting a living goddess then head to Kumari house in Kathmandu Durbar Square. There's no entrance fee into the courtyard (which is as far as you are allowed to go).
Filled with interesting wooden carvings along the wall the prime attraction is the little window at the top. Once in a while the Kumari might be seen looking out (4pm is about the best time).
The former number one place for budget accommodation in Kathmandu and hippie hangouts is a pale shade what it once was. However it is having somewhat of a revival of late. Freak street today is a relatively clean stretch of road with a few guesthouses and new cafes.
There's no entrance fee and Freak Street is located to the south of Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Do read more on this guide to Jhochhen Tole (Freak Street).
Bhimsen Tower is a former watch tower that was rebuilt as a public attraction before being destroyed in the 2015 earthquake. One could once climb the spiral staircase containing 213 steps for a panoramic view of Kathmandu city - on a clear day at least.
Located close to Civil Mall and the General Post Office. It had an entrance fee of 50 rupees for Nepalese and 150 rupees for Non-Nepali. Today it's one of the focal points of reconstuction in Kathmandu.
Another one of Kathmandu's top attractions Swayambhunath is more commonly referred to as the Monkey Temple. Make your way up the 365 stone steps to the top where a stunning gold gilded stupa awaits.
Just watch out for the monkeys! Check out the full guide to Swayambhunath Monkey Temple.
A small but pleasant garden restaurant. Aside from the nice garden and pond the Garden of Dreams biggest attraction's being away from the crowds and traffic of Thamel.
Located at the end of TriDevi Marg at the end of Thamel it has an entrance fee of 80 rupees for Nepalese and 200 rupees for Non-Nepali. Here's a full look at the Garden of Dreams.
Boudhanath is on of the largest Stupa's in all Nepal. It's so large walking around on its white dome is permitted. Surrounding the Stupa is Thrangu Monastery, a bevy of souvenir shops and cafes. The top of the stupa is currently under reconstuction and should be completed by the end of the year.
For more information including entrance fees, directions and accommodation check out the guide to Boudhanath stupa.
Kathmandu city is surrounded by buddhist monasteries. Many of these Monasteries are located on hill tops. There's not much to do in a monastery is you just show up.
Try visiting Thrangu Monastery in front of Boudhanath stupa to get a taste of what they are like before making a longer trek out to one.
Turned into a museum in 2009 this former royal palace offers a historic look at Nepal. Outside the royal gardens are quite well kept and a pleasant but not fantastic walk around.
Located at the end of TriDevi Marg past the end of Thamel. Entrance fee for foreigners is 500 rupees. SAARC 250 rupees and Nepalese 100 rupees.
Pashupatinath complex contains one of Nepal's oldest temple, heaps of stupas and burning ghats. For those not used to seeing open cremations it can get a bit overwhelming.
For entrance fees, directions and things to do there check out this guide to Pashupatinath.
Need to buy a new camera? Find out the best place to buy a camera in Kathmandu without getting cheated. There's more to Kathmandu than just Thamel!
Camera stores in Kathmandu.
Got a broken carmera? Find out the best place to get your camera repaired in Kathmandu without getting cheated.
Do read more about Camera repairs in Kathmandu
If trekking isn't your thing, then maybe try out some of the indoor wall climbing facitilites in Kathmandu. Most charge for the day with climbing equipment as additional charges.
Do read more about Indoor wall climbing in Kathmandu.
Whether your are in Patan, around ring road or in Thamel you will find some excellent Archery ranges that are open to new comers. It's worth taking some lessons rather just show up.
Do read more about Archery in Kathmandu.
If this is your first trip to Nepal then the following might be helpful to you:
» Nepal visa information » Kathmandu weather » Vaccinations & immunizations for Nepal » Arriving into Kathmandu Airport » Traveling overland into Nepal » Dealing with strikes or bandas » Nepalese language for Travel » Money, ATM's & credit cards in Nepal
Check out the links at the top of the sidebar to the right for more travel guides around Nepal.
Here's a page of recommended accommodation in Kathmandu city from budget to luxury class hotels and where to find them in.
If you'd just like a quick search then try my search tool here to find the best rates:
Liked this page? You'll love my book! It's a guidebook that's better than the rest. Yes, really! In it I cover all of Kathmandu cities attractions (including Durbar Square) with well researched information, photographs and travel tested walking tours.
It's an interactive & printable guidebook like no other.
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